Visit Batumi and surroundings: welcome to the little Black Sea Dubai
Visit Batumi and surroundings: welcome to the little Black Sea Dubai
In the distance, the Batumi skyscrapers add a little Dubai touch. It is as if the authorities planned to create a new version of this city in the Black Sea. From near, its streets are full of life, its cafes are overflowing and people are walking along the seafront at sunset. Some people go to their houses to have a shower and they continue partying all night.
Others have dinner on the terraces overlooking the sea. Batumi is the capital of the autonomous republic of Adjara. It is also the epicenter of sun and beach tourism in Georgia and the third largest city in the country. It is also known as ‘The Pearl of the Black Sea’. It has about 130,000 inhabitants and is the main seaport.
During the last decade, there has been a real estate boom and large hotels and second residences have grown fastly. However, the historic center still retains many 19th century buildings adding a distinguished look. It offers a good range of leisure activities, restaurants, pubs, discos, and accommodations. In summer, life is moving between the boulevard, the old part, Rustaveli and Chavchavadze streets, and 6 May Park.
Batumi is a city with a long history behind it. Aristotle quoted it in the fourth century B.C. as the city of Colchis called Batusi, which means deep. However, recent archaeological discoveries suggest that it was inhabited for 3,000 or 4,000 years. In the seventeenth century, the Turks captured it and they transformed it into the city of Niva, a small town dedicated to fishing.
They were in power for nearly 300 years until in 1878 the Russian General Sviatipolk Mirski took it for the Tsar and he integrated it back into Georgia. Thereafter, everything changed at the speed of lightning. It was declared a free port and it began to increase its income thanks to trade.
It was the place where the pipeline from the oil wells of the Caspian was flowing and a refinery was built in it. In 1883 the railway brought it. Overnight it was changed into a modern European-style city. It was his first urban boom. Between 1878 and 1903 it is estimated that the population grew from 3,000 to 30,000 inhabitants.
Later, the Soviet invasion arrived and the city lived a stand by period until the Government of Tbilisi, after overthrowing Abashidze in 2004, he was conducting a number of reforms to boost the city again and he turned it into a Trade Centre and Georgian tourism. What was the result at the end? The city is experiencing its second golden age and it has become fashionable among the middle class and upper-class people of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Iran, and Turkey.
Since the loss of Abkhazia, to speak of Adjara (also known as Ajara) is to do so from a region that has become Georgia’s quintessential sun and beach destination, and a landmark in the Black Sea.
It occupies the southwestern corner of the country and each summer coastal towns of Batumi, Kvariati, Sarpi, Gonio, Tsikhisdziri, Mtsvane Kontskhi (Cape Verde) and Kobuleti attract a flood of Armenians, Turks, Russians, Azeris and Georgians from the interior who come to ‘turn off’, enjoy and recharge batteries. Its tourism, although seasonal, is very developed, and the coast offers a large offer of accommodation, leisure, and restoration.
Although it has very rocky beaches, its landscapes are outstanding: the blue water mixes with the intense green of the Caucasus Mountains, which collapse on the sea. In addition, its orientation towards the west provides the perfect sunsets. It has a subtropical climate and the humidity is sometimes a bit suffocating in summer.
If the taste of summer on the coast you add an interior full of picturesque villages and mountains of more than 3,000 meters (9842 feet tall), the result is a very attractive territory.
For three centuries Adjara was ruled by the Ottomans. The result of this contact with Islam is that 30% of its population still professes the Muslim religion – although they are ethnically Georgian and they speak Georgian. The majority of Muslims live in the mountains of the interior and coexists peacefully with their Christian neighbors.
If you are interested in getting to know this other side of Adjara, which is far from the clubs and hotel complexes, you should visit the remote area of Khulo. There are good connections in Marshrutka although the road is uneven and there are some unasphalted strips.
Since 1921 Adjara is an autonomous republic within Georgia. The status was granted by the Soviet authorities due to its religious particularity. After the collapse of the USSR the region was ruled by Aslan Abashidze, who led in an overbearing manner until 2004.
The president had the support of Russia. He created his own militia and he used the area as a fief of his own corruptions. During those years, Adjara worked outside of Tbilisi. But everything changed after the Rose Revolution. In 2004 the new president Saakashvili sent him an ultimatum to return to the constitutional regime.
The ghost of a new secessionist confrontation flew over the country for a few days. Fortunately, the Kremlin withdrew his support and Abashidze went into exile in Russia. Today, Adjara is back to normal and it is one of the engines of the Georgian economy.
It dates back to 1865. It was built with the blessing of the Sultan. At first, it was considered a Greek Catholic church but it was known as the Russian Orthodox Church in 1879. The building was restored in 2012 and today it is one of the most important temples in Batumi.
Address: 4 Chkalov Street.
It is a haven of peace in the middle of Batumi. It is the only mosque in the city that remains standing and it dates from 1886. With the arrival of the Soviets, it was no longer used as a sacred place. Nowadays, it has returned to his spiritual activity. You can visit it and its interior is decorated with bright colors. It is one of the most unusual places of Batumi and on Fridays, it is filled with the faithful who have answered to the call of prayer.
Armenian Apostolic Church of Batumi
Address: 25 Konstantine Gamsakhurdia Street.
The 8% of the population of Batumi is of Armenian descent and this sanctuary is their meeting point. In this same place, a wooden temple was inaugurated in 1873 and it was burned twelve years later. Shortly after the current building was raised thanks to donations from citizens. During the Soviet era, it was transformed into a planetarium but masses were officiated again in 1992.
It is the place of recreation for holidaymakers and locals. It is a garden area full of bars, cafes, and restaurants extending along seven kilometers (four miles) parallel to the beach. Its seafront runs from one end to the other.
It is a huge park in the downtown with its own lake and where the dolphinarium, the aquarium and a small zoo have been built.
Ajara Art Museum
Address: 8 Zurab Gorgiladze Street.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Price: 2 GEL.
It shows 32 paintings and 14 sculptures by the 19th century and 20th-century Georgian artists such as Gudashvili, Kakabadze or Pirosmani. The first floor is used to host temporary exhibitions.
Adjara Khariton Akhvlediani State Museum
Address: 4 Khariton Akhvlediani Street.
Opening Hours: every day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
It is the regional museum of History, archeology, and ethnography. If you visit it, you’d better understand the cultural peculiarities of this autonomous republic. The first floor is dedicated to the botany and fauna of the area. We can emphasize its strange collection of Black Sea fish. The upstairs shows a collection of historical articles from the Ottoman occupation until nowadays. As a curiosity: the museum houses the remains of a giant whale.
It is not very big nor the best aquapark in the world, but you have different slides of different heights, several swimming pools, bar, cafeteria and children’s area. It is next to the beach. It is expensive for what it has to offer.
It offers three shows a day in summer: at 2:00 p.m., at 5:00 p.m. and at 9:00 p.m. (Mondays at 4:00 p.m. and 9 p.m.). Ticket price: 15 GEL. There is also the possibility of swimming 15 minutes with the dolphins for 150 GEL.
Batumi Diving Center
Phone: +995 5 68 821 495.
Address: Andria Pirvelwodebuli Street (S2 road), Kvariati Street (Batumi)
E-mail: email@example.com the diving center is located in the village of Kvariati, 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of Batumi. They offer classes for beginners and all the necessary material for all experienced people.
The staff is multilingual. You can check it out earlier at the tourism office if they are still open.
Price of the entrance: 8 GEL. It is worth visiting.
It has a great diversity of subtropical flora and there are species from much of the world. It is located in an ideal place, at the edge of the sea and surrounded by lush vegetation. The place is called Cape Verde, and it’s a wonderful thing.
It is five miles north of Batumi, in the town of Mtsvane Khontsi. It is divided into three zones – low, medium and high – and nine floral sectors: subtropical species from the Caucasus, East Asia, New Zealand, South America, Himalayas, Mexico, Australia, and the Mediterranean. If you want to get there, you have to take bus number 15 or a taxi.
Opening Hours: every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: 3 GEL.
This fortress was created by the Romans in the first century. It occupies an area of 475 hectares. It is located in the coastal town of Gonio, 7 miles south of Batumi along the road to Turkey. Its solid walls form a rectangle of 222 x 195 meters punctuated by 18 defensive towers.
Inside there is a museum and several archaeological sites. The origin of the place is directly linked to the myth of the Argonauts. Apparently, when Jason stole the Golden Fleece and his wen out on the ocean to Greece, the son of King Aeëtes pursued him and overtook him.
Then, Jason came up with an idea. He invited him to his ship and he killed him. Afterward, he dismembered him and he threw his remains into the sea. While the enemy was busy in rescuing his pieces, he fled. Gonio, along with Kvariati and Sarpi, offers a beautiful, steep and much less crowded coastline. You should take a look at the linking video we send you.
On the same road, a few kilometers beyond Gonio, is the small coastal town of Kvariati. It is much less crowded than Batumi but it also has a good hotel offer. The coast is abrupt, with mountains full of vegetation and dotted with pretty villas adding a slight Amalfitan touch. Kvariati is one of the most beautiful coastal towns. It is divided into the area of the beach, and the area of the hills, where the villas are dotted over the sides. If you want to get there, you have to take the minibus to Sarpi. You should go to the Cameo Hotel (www.hotelcameo.ge ), the Zura Hotel (+995 558 06 08 08) or Kvariati Guest House.
It is located 12 miles south of Batumi, on the border with Turkey. Its beaches are less crowded and its waters a little cleaner. In addition, its border location adds it an exotic touch. In the same customs, there is a tourist office where they can inform you about accommodations and restaurants. There are marshrutkas quite often back to Batumi.
Hertz office is at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Batumi.
Most minibusses leave from the central station (1 Maiakovski Street), which is behind the Catholic Church.
Batumi-Tbilisi: there are seven a day, practically every hour (20-25 GEL).
Batumi-Kutaisi: practically every hour (10 GEL).
Batumi-Mestia: there is a direct marshrutka leaving daily at 3:00 p.m (30 GEL).
Batumi-Zugdidi: 5 marshrutkas throughout the day.
Batumi-Poti: every hour (6 GEL).
Batumi-Akhaltsikhe (to Khashuri and Borjomi): two marshrutkas in the morning at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (6 GEL). Be careful, the road can be closed by snow in winter.
Batumi-Khulo: with some regularity (practically every half hour) from 7:50 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (5 GEL).
Batumi-Sarpi: every 20 minutes from 88 Tbilisi Square (1 GEL). The buses 16 and 17 (80 tetri) also travel there
Batumi-Istanbul: there are two buses a day (60-80 GEL). They leave from the vicinity of Luks Karadeniz, Golden station.
Batumi-Trabzon: they leave practically every hour in summer.
Batumi-Yerevan: they leave every day at 8:00 a.m. from Gogolis Street 1 (80 GEL)
Batumi-Tbilisi: in the mornings (7:30 a.m.), in the afternoon (5:55 p.m.).
Batumi-Kutaisi: a primera hora de la mañana (8:35 GEL).
Batumi airport is the second airdrome in the country in terms of traffic. It has connections with Tbilisi, Istanbul, Warsaw, Tel-Aviv, Minsk, Moscow and Kiev.
There are flights for 90 GEL from Tbilisi to Batumi operated by Vanilla Sky (www.vanillasky.ge) and Georgian Airways (www.georgian-airways.com). They usually leave on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, although in summer the frequency may increase.
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